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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Queen Install. Did I do something wrong?

    I recently made a split into a 5 frame nuc. I left the nuc queenless for 2 days, got a new queen from a distributor and installed it in the nuc. The queen and attendants were all alive and looked fine. 2 days later I checked to see if she had been released and she had not so I direct released her into the hive. I checked again 3 days later to see if their were any eggs and I couldn't find any or the queen, but I did find 4 queen cells.

    The queen was small, which I've read to be normal in a new queen so it's possible I just didn't see her and she hasn't started laying yet, but was my process of introducing the queen correct?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,670

    Default Re: Queen Install. Did I do something wrong?

    The problem was leaving the nuc queenless for 2 days before introducing the queen. I intro the queen 10 minutes after making the split. If you give them 2 days then they've already started queen cells of their own and usually will reject an intro queen. Next time you can inspect the nuc and remove all started queen cells when you intro the queen, and check to do the same a couple days later when you check back.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Pitt County, NC
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Queen Install. Did I do something wrong?

    I just lost two queens from russell apiaries so I feel your pain. I believe it was essentially my error that contributed or atlest made failure more likely and I think you may have some of the same errors. One is, leave the hive queenless for 1 day, no more. I left mine about two days as well and the hive started raising there own queens. I believe after they start that process, you chances of queen acceptance go down. Secondly, wait a little longer(5 days) to check/direct release. I waited 3 days, then direct released each the first time. The hive with the cells appeared to be agressive, though it isn't quite as obvious as some would say. They were just standing there heads down chewing on the cage(no buzzing or running around). So if you are like me you might not want to wait long, but then if you release to early you might just have to wait for another queen. So I'd say stick with the 5 days, check briefly that she's out and close it for another week. I also used the queen excluder as an includer on one to make sure the bees didn't shove the queen out the door, since I have read of this and my presumibly dead queens were no where to be found. Using these methods I am 2 for 2 on new queens, where as before I was 0 for 2.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Queen Install. Did I do something wrong?

    Is there any difference in re-queening an active hive as opposed to starting a queen in a queenless nuc? Reason being I want to introduce new genetics into my hives which is why I bought the new queen instead of letting them raise their own.

    If I get another queen for this nuc I assume I should just destroy the queen cells I see and put the new queen cage in?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    723

    Default Re: Queen Install. Did I do something wrong?

    Yes you would need to destroy ALL queen cells before installing new queen.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Pitt County, NC
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Queen Install. Did I do something wrong?

    I forgot two more techniques I used to help better my odds. I fed the bees when I put the cages in and since they had no brood left. I also bought a few frames from a local beekeeper and installed the queen next the the ones about to emerge. Queens are better accepted by the young bees.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Queen Install. Did I do something wrong?

    Thanks again for the help. Second attempt was successful. This time I waited 10 minutes from the time I took the old queen out and placed the new queen in a cage inside with a candy plug in. I can't believe how much the queen has grown in size in just a few days and she is already laying a nice pattern. I know I should have waited longer to search for her but it was killing me and I had to take a look.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Queen Install. Did I do something wrong?

    I will basically reiterate what others have said. If you put a queen in a hive with queen cells already built that queen may have a tough ride. Typically you are looking for emergency cells in this scenario so shaking bees off the frames is a must. An emergency cell can be tucked into a corner and hardly noticeable. Ask me how I know and I will respond that I found three E-cells that I missed on a frame that I am introducing a Strachan NWC queen.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Billerica, MA
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: Queen Install. Did I do something wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by RayMarler View Post
    I intro the queen 10 minutes after making the split.
    I did a yard of four hives last weekend. Went through and de-queened them one by one and then went back to the first hive and gave them a queen first. More than ten minutes but less than an hour to find and kill all four, another fifteen minutes to introduce four new queens and restack everything. Now it's time to go back and remove/check cages.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Catlettsburg, KY, USA
    Posts
    104

    Default Re: Queen Install. Did I do something wrong?

    Looking back I know the first death of the new queen was my fault. I had raised queens before making splits, but never re-queened. My mistake was not checking for queen cells before putting the new one in. As dumb as it sounds now, the directions that I read did not say to look for queen cells before installing the new one. It's all still a learning process for me and I learn new things everyday.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Eldersburg, MD, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Queen Install. Did I do something wrong?

    I added a virgin queen to a hive I made queenless on a Friday. When I introduced the virgin the following Monday, I counted at least a dozen partially drawn emergency queen cells the bees had made (I even used frames of capped brood to limit the number of eggs they had to play with) and all of the cells had lovely larvae floating on pools of royal jelly.

    Industrious little buggers.

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